Panama Pacific International Exposition 1915 Postal Cancellation

PPIE 1915 Part 2


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PPIE 1915 Part 2
PPIE 1915 Part 3
PPIE 1915 Part 4
PPIE 1915 Part 5
PPIE 1915 Part 6
PPIE 1915 Part 7
PPIE 1915 Part 8
PPIE 1915 Part 9
PPIE 1915 Part 10
PPIE 1915 Part 11
PPIE 1915 Part 12

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Panama Pacific International Exposition PPIE 1915

Panama Pacific International Exposition 1915


  Home Page Slide Show Highlights

  PPIE - Part 2 of 12


Illumination of the PPIE (Continued...)

Lighting was a new and important development that allowed fairs to remain open after dark. At the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), on newly constructed ground, it was easy to install underground utilities. It was the first fair to have its lighting planned in conjunction with the architecture.
Panama Pacific International Exposition Illumination
More cards: another view of the Great Scintillator, an array of search lights; the Electric Kaleidoscope inside the giant dome of the Palace of Horticulture; the Tower of Jewels hung with 102,000 Novagems that moved with the breeze; the floodlit exterior of the Palace of Fine Arts showing the new way to illuminate architecture. Views of lighting at earlier fairs: the harsh arc lighting of Chicago 1893; the Eiffel Tower outlined with bulbs, 1900 Paris; a film made by Thomas Edison at the 1901 Buffalo fair; the 1904 St Louis fairgrounds were so huge that lighting had to be concentrated in spots.


The Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) brought a new style of brightly lit displays and soft lighting on building exteriors.


Then a picture of Walter D’Arcy Ryan, the first person to light Niagara Falls; in 1907 he built an early version of the Scintillator for the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Expo.


The castle like tower Ryan had built for the Scintillator is still standing at the Yacht Harbor. The organizers of the fair had doubts as to Ryan’s success with his new style. Perhaps they had a backup plan.

The Scintillator utilized forty-eight 36 inch projectors with color screens. Over 300 special effects were  choreographed. The effects were different on clear and foggy nights, so Ryan had railroad engines mounted to run at full throttle and create fog and smoke.



Click to Enlarge Image: Panama Pacific International Exposition 1915

Ryan Electric Color Scintillator


The Nebulus Array in the Electric Kaleidoscope of the Palace of Horticulture was made by painting the inside of the dome with reflective paint. When the lights inside were played on the dome the view outside was animated with comets, butterflies, and more.


Click to Enlarge Image: Novagems (Jewels) of type type that were hung on the Tower of Jewels at the Panama Pacific Exposition 1915


Novagems and the Tower of Jewels


The Tower of Jewels: 435 feet high. After it was built Ryan announced he was going to hang thousands of cut glass gems on it. Impossible! He studied the gems and designed the style of cut he wanted used, 21-47 mm in diameter, mirror backed and made in Austria. They were also used elsewhere in the fair. Smaller jewels were sold as souvenirs. Laura showed a photo from Sunset magazine of workers hanging jewels on the tower. She told that often Tower of Jewels postcards have glitter applied to where the jewels hung. More Novagem displays were seen at the New York and San Francisco fairs of 1939, but the idea of hanging jewels on architecture did not catch on.


Novagems and the Tower of Jewels

Ryan also designed lighting for other areas of the fair. The fountains of the Rising and Setting Sun were glass with lights inside. The Court of Abundance had a globe of glass with interior lights that created an eerie effect. Lights were concealed in niches of the columns of colonnades for indirect effects. Decorative standards were hung with ornate banners concealing two to seven arc lights that illuminated architecture. Ryan coined his own term for the Palace of Fine Arts lighting: Triple Moonlight!

When the applause quieted Laura answered questions, mostly about the jewels themselves. Jay Stevens joined in the discussion. The jewels that actually were on the tower are chipped and faded and coated with a greasy film; and they show the Ryan name. Any jewels smaller than 21 millimeters are official souvenirs; those with a dangling tag are also souvenirs. When Laura was finished Jay Stevens brought up his laptop and slipped a disk in it. Movies taken at the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) appeared on the screen. The CDs [DVDs?] are for sale on eBay from a reputable dealer.


PPIE - Part 3 (Panama Pacific International Exposition) Continued...



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